Mexican researcher, Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, has invented a new form of biodegradable plastic made primarily from cactus juice.
The plastic-replica takes around one month to biodegrade if left in soil or just a week if soaked in water, and is safe for animals and humans to consume.
Oritz creates the material, which can be made in different colors, shapes, thickness, and strength, by juicing cactus leaves and adding a ‘non-toxic formula’ – she then laminates the liquid and leaves it to dry.
A natural ‘substitute’
Featuring on BBC’s People Fixing The World, Oritz said: “My idea is to produce plastic from natural ingredients and substitute it for some of the plastics we use today.
“If this plastic reaches the sea, the most likely thing that would happen is that the fish or other sea life would eat it,” adding that it would cause ‘no harm’ to them.
The production time to create the cactus-plastic currently takes around 10 days, and Oritz is still researching which cactus leaves are the best for creating the product but keeps the plant alive so it continues to grow more leaves.